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The word philanthropy is from the Ancient Greek phil "love of" and anthrōpos "humankind." In the second century CE, Plutarch used the Greek concept of philanthrôpía to describe superior human beings. Then, during the Middle Ages, philanthrôpía was superseded across Europe by Christianity and the Christian virtue of charity (Latin: caritas); selfless love--valued for salvation and escape from purgatory--for oneself. Which doesn't seem very selfless to me. Anyway, parochial and civic charities grew over time, established by bequests and operated by local church parishes or guilds. During the 18th century, however, a more activist Protestant tradition of direct charitable engagement took hold—for example, in 1739, appalled by the number of abandoned children living on the streets of London, Thomas Coram received a royal charter in England to establish the Foundling Hospital to look after the orphans, and that set the pattern for incorporating associational charities in general. Things became more...

There are an estimated 476 million Indigenous Peoples spread across 70 countries worldwide. I lack the space to map the torturous route of finding a day for the US government to honor them, or for The United Nations to recognize their rights in a declaration.

The important thing to remember is that by the time these words land in your brain, everything will have changed. Things are moving so fast that I won't keep repeating the phrase “as of now,” but please just factor it in. To start, if you're wondering what you can do to help an embattled Ukraine, let me right at the top here add to the list of organizations you may already have compiled. Here are two more, but important ones. The Kyiv Independent was envisioned and launched by former staffers of the Kyiv Post, a well-respected Ukrainian newspaper whose owner shuttered its doors and fired the entire team only three months ago, in a move considered to be retaliation for editorial independence. Now, relying almost solely on support from readership and donors, The Kyiv Independent faces continued financial challenges as its journalists work to provide the world...

Let me note at the outset that if any readers are devoutly religious, please understand that no individual offense is felt or intended by my following remarks. I respect your spirituality, if not always your belief system. But I do feel strongly that the United States was founded as a secular country and must remain so.

Suffering is not a competition. The pandemic bestows trauma and tragedy on everyone. Yet it's also true that catastrophic events expose societal fault lines. In the USA, the 2020 plague is crushing some far more cruelly than others. The poor. People of color. Old people. Disabled people. Female people.